August 1, 1997 6:25 PM PDT

Ellison says he'll join Apple board

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Jobs rejects Apple chairman post

July 31, 1997
Oracle (ORCL) chairman and chief executive Larry Ellison said in a published interview that he expects to be named to the board of Apple Computer (AAPL) as part of a new management team headed by Apple cofounder Steve Jobs.

"Rumors of my interest are well founded," Ellison told the French financial newspaper La Tribune in an interview in California. "On Monday, we'll introduce Apple's new management team, and I'm part of it."

Investors seemed to like the prospect of Ellison on Apple's board. The stock jumped 9.6 percent to close at 19-3/16, up 1-11/16 over yesterday. That surge brought Apple's share price up to January's levels.

Ellison was traveling and not available for comment. Oracle officials declined to comment on Ellison's plans regarding Apple.

Ellison's entrance into the boardroom saga caps a week of persistent rumors about the leadership of Apple and whether Jobs would be named chairman. On Wednesday, Jobs sent an email to his employees at animation company Pixar denying that such a move was afoot.

An industry executive close to Jobs said the former Apple cofounder told him he had no plans to take the position of chairman. However, the executive said he would not be surprised if Jobs took one of the several available board seats at Apple.

Ellison, who is heavily promoting the concept of a stripped-down network computer, had his own ideas of what Apple needs to survive--like concentrating on entry-level products, according to the French newspaper's report.

"The market can't be made up solely of expensive and complicated computers. Today you need equipment that's easy to maintain and not too onerous for equipping schools and households," Ellison said in the article.

Outside of trying to line up board members, Jobs is part of the executive search committee that is looking for new chief executive. CEO and chairman Gilbert Amelio was ousted earlier this month; the struggling computer maker has seen its stock trade near its lowest point for more than a decade and its financial condition decline after more than $1 billion in losses during Amelio's 17-month tenure.

The New York Times has reported that Jobs has been trying unsuccessfully to persuade Eastman Kodak chief executive George Fisher to take the CEO spot at Apple. One industry executive who does business with Apple said he has heard that Fisher has declined.

Reuters contributed to this report.

 

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